Service Recovery for the PR win

Service Recovery. At first I thought it sounded like blather, just another business babblespeak phrase.

As it turns out, service recovery is a much needed and under used aspect of PR.

Communications > Marketing

If you’ve read this far you’re possibly thinking “customer service is under the Marketing silo” which may be true. From my standpoint, customer experience is also a critical facet of Corporate Communications. And Public Relations. And Human Resources.

Like any other public-facing function, customer service requires a plan, hiring and training top people, empowering them to make an impact.

One call, big difference.
Retired Classic from Despair.

I recently moved. Had booked some guys with truck via Craigslist, and short story – they never showed. Calls, texts, message left and I ended up back on Craigslist to hire someone else. They didn’t care.

Here’s the service recovery lesson – a phone call could have made all the difference.

“Ms. Brewer.. our apologies, we’re overbooked this morning. if you can wait until 1pm, I’ll guarantee a team by then and we can give you 15% the quote and additional 10% on a future move. Would that be ok?”

That would have probably saved the sale; I could have gone about my morning, reorganized my day and saved a little money. Alas that didn’t happen.

Side note: the second set of guys with truck were fine, very responsive.

Bad customer service happens. What’s next matters more.

Not every cruise is perfect, not every sales clerk or tech support rep is top of their game every day. It’s something I teach as part of any public relations program – how to recover from bad service mistakes, how to learn and grow as a brand.

There are times it’ll help, times it won’t. The guys that lost my business, no worries. No website for negative review and probably many other Craigslist shoppers calling. It’s one of the many marketing proofs I write about – supply vs demand, vs competition, vs convenience. That’s the key.

Brands like Chick-fil-a, Delta, Disney know the value and importance of providing an excellent customer experience. More importantly, when they fail to deliver on those expectations, they use PR and service recovery to make a difference.

You? What do you do when things go wrong, or what has a brand done for you to make things right? Do share.

Image credit: Despair.com.

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